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Desperate Pleas for God’s People 

A Lent Reflection for Friday, February 16th by Pastor Katherine Mayer 


Lectionary reading for 2/16/24: Psalm 25:1-10; Daniel 9:15-25a; 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Selected passage for reflection: Daniel 9:15-25a


Read

Daniel 9:15-25a NIV

15 “Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. 


17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” 


20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill— 21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision: 


24 “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place. 


25 “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.


Reflect 

Oftentimes when I go to engage Old Testament texts it is easy for me to get distracted by the desire to understand.  I want to go through all the commentaries and try to better understand what the meaning of the passage is.  As I prepared to write this devotional I found myself doing the same thing.  I wanted to be able to explain Daniel’s motivation for his pleas.  I wanted to be able to give insight into the numbers and meaning behind his vision, but as I prepared to do just that I went back one more time to reread the scripture.  All of a sudden all of the facts and knowledge didn’t matter because all that came through was Daniel’s desperate pleas.  Daniel is coming to God asking for God to have mercy and grace on the people of Jerusalem.  He is acknowledging the goodness and mercy that God has showered down on them in the past by rescuing them from Egypt.  He is desperate and is desperately calling out to God.  


As I sat with Daniel’s pleas, I was reminded of Jesus’ own pleas as he hung on the cross.  Jesus’ plea in the garden before the guards came to get him.  Jesus desperately asked God for another way in the garden.  As he hung on the cross and prepared to take his last breath Jesus prayed for the people who persecuted him.  He cries out saying “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:24a).  These pleas are of desperation not for Jesus himself, but for the people who persecuted him.  Jesus, like Daniel, was crying out to God the Father for His mercy and grace to be shown to the people.  Neither Jesus nor Daniel asked for the sins of the people to be erased but they did ask for forgiveness.  They did ask for mercy.  They did ask for grace.  


How do Daniel’s pleas relate to our society today? As I read and reread this passage I was overcome with my own feeling of desperation.  I want the same righteousness and mercy that Daniel is praying for his people for my own.  The desperation that knows only God can correct what has been broken.  The cry that was answered by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.  The cry that was answered by Jesus asking God to forgive us because we did not understand what we were doing.  


This Lenten season we have the opportunity to press into Jesus.  We have the opportunity to press into his desire for restoration and forgiveness.  How do you see Daniel’s pleas in your own community? How is God meeting you as you pray for those around you?


Respond 

Take a moment to check in with your body.  What are you feeling? Where are you feeling the most emotion? As you check in with yourself, go back and reread the scripture above.  As you do take time to engage with the emotions that can be felt as Daniel pleas for his city.  As he pleas for his people.  How can his pleas be felt this Lenten season in the communities we find ourselves?


Rest 

May we rest in the knowledge that we are loved. May we take a moment to breathe in the Breath of Life.  This Lenten season may we cling to the love that we feel knowing that our cries are heard.  That the pleas we might have for our own community is heard by God. 


About the Author 


Katherine Mayer is an Associate Pastor at One Church in Louisville, KY.  She is originally from Northern California but has called Louisville home for seven years.  She is married with two kids. She is in the process of becoming a Spiritual Director and started seminary at North Park Seminary this fall.



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"The desperation that knows only God can correct what has been broken." This is exactly what I feel for my kids right now. I want to get in there and manipulate and mangle and shake them up to be healed and complete and happy. But it doesn't work (learned that the hard way!). So now I sit in my watchtower, waiting and watching for God to fix what is broken! Thank you for your encouragement (and for daring to write without all the research)!

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